For the first time since 2008, about 60 of the world’s best ballet dancers have travelled to Toronto to take part in a prestigious competition.

The 10-day Genée International Ballet Competition is open to dancers aged 15-19 who are working within the Royal Academy of Dance’s syllabus.

Dancers spend five days in coaching sessions to perfect three different solos: a 19th or 20th century classical variation; a piece choreographed specifically for the candidate and a world-premiere piece, which will be choreographed this year by Italian-Canadian dancer and choreographer, Gioconda Barbuto.

“I’ve been making a lot more friends from around the globe, and even in Canada,” said 19-year-old Rachel Ng, of Toronto.

Ng says that competition aside; it’s the friendly atmosphere that she’s enjoyed.

The ballet dancers represent 13 different countries and will be competing in front of an international panel of judges for medals.

“We have gold, silver and bronze medals. The gold medal is not given every year it is given only when there is an exceptional talent,” Luke Rittner, Chief Executive of the Royal Dance Academy, said.

The final performance is scheduled to take place on Aug. 29.